SEATTLE -- In the fourth inning Friday night, David Murphy delivered a two-run single for the Rangers against Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma. To say that Murphy's hit was the end of a Rangers trend is to understate the situation gravely.
Texas went 1-for-28 with runners in scoring position in the Seattle series, including an 0-for-10 effort Sunday. It's one thing to do it against a last-place team, but the Rangers now have their final 10 games against teams hoping to play in the 2012 postseason. That dismal level of production can be fatal when September becomes October.
No one is more aware of that than shortstop Elvis Andrus, who comes into the final homestand of the season with just four hits in his last 28 at-bats (.143 average). Andrus said he didn't need to hear it from manager Ron Washington that he was trying to do too much. Andrus knows that instinctively.
"I've got to simplify," Andrus said. "I missed some pitches this weekend, but I've got to keep swinging."
That could be the mantra for the Rangers heading into this week's four-game series at home against the second-place A's, who are four games behind Texas in the AL West race. The Rangers also hold a two-game edge over the Yankees for the top record in the American League.
Monday's key games to watch (all times CT)
A's (Straily, 2-1) at Rangers (Holland, 11-6), 7:05 p.m. Preview >
Yankees (Pettitte, 4-3) at Twins (Hendriks, 1-7), 7:10 p.m. Preview >
If the postseason started today ...
This is how the teams would match up: Postseason Bracket »
To calculate a team's magic number, take the number of games it has remaining and add one. Then subtract the difference in the number of losses between that team and its closest pursuer.
A tiebreaker game will be played to determine a division winner, even if the tied clubs are assured of participating in the postseason. If a division championship tiebreaker is necessary, the head-to-head record between the clubs will determine home-field advantage. If the head-to-head record is tied, then the division record will be the next tiebreaker.
If two clubs are tied for the two Wild Card berths, home-field advantage will be determined by the head-to-head record between the clubs. If the head-to-head record is tied, then the division record will be the next tiebreaker.
2012 postseason schedule
Wild Card playoff games: Oct. 5
Division Series: Oct. 6-12
AL Championship Series: Oct. 13-21
NL Championship Series: Oct. 14-22
World Series: Oct. 24-Nov. 1
John Hickey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.